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Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley beat Jon Jay and Jorge Soler in afternoon doubles match

Mike Clevinger was also a force for good on this Saturday.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians had nine hits on the afternoon, seven of which were contributed by Francisco Lindor (4) and Michael Brantley (3). The Royals had 8 hits on the afternoon, 6 of which were contributed by Jon Jay (3) and Jorge Soler (3). What I’m saying is that this quartet battled it out behind their respective starting pitchers while the rest of the teams took the day off.

After being up 9-5 last night and allowing five unanswered runs, things picked up right where they left off this afternoon when Jon Jay hit a high bouncer to Jason Kipnis that kissed his glove and rolled into right field. The double by Jorge Soler put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. A big strikeout of Mike Moustakas made way for an RBI ground out by Salvador Perez, putting the Royals in front.

The Lindor & Brantley show immediately responded with a double and a single in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game.

Now in the third inning, a pair of doubles from Jay & Soler put the Royals back in front 2-1. Francisco Lindor was having none of this. On a 2-0 count, Lindor turned on a 91 mph sinker on the inner part of the plate and launched it just over the yellow line in right field to tie the game at two.

Mike Clevinger, who did not look his sharpest early on, settled into a nice groove. He regained control of his breaking pitches somewhere between the third and fourth innings and mowed down the Royals for the remainder of his time in the game. The top of the Royals lineup (read: Jay and Soler) were absolutely mashing the ball off of Clevinger early on, but he was able to settle in and give the Tribe 7.2 innings of two-run ball. He didn’t issue a walk and he struck out five. The strikeouts were down, sure, but he was otherwise amazingly effective. He left the game after throwing 115 pitches, which I am fully in support of. Despite the bullpen’s recent suckitude, Tito needs to trust them to maintain a 4-run lead with only 4 outs to go. If he can’t do that, then Cleveland’s playoff aspirations are slim. Thankfully, the bullpen did its job tonight. But more on that later. Back to the Lindor & Brantley show.

The bottom of the 6th inning began about how you would’ve expected. Francisco Lindor doubled (again) and Michael Brantley hit a double of his own to score Lindor. With a 3-2 lead, Jose Ramirez flied out and Edwin Encarnacion struck out since no one else on the team wanted to hit today. Yonder Alonso decided he wanted in on the hit party of 2 and drove in Brantley with a single to right field. Two walks later, with the bases load, and Greg Allen came to the plate with a chance to get his first hit of the season and blow the game open. Alas, he grounded out after two pitches. Better luck next time, Allen.

They weren’t done yet. After a Brandon Guyer ground out in the seventh, Lindor blasted his second home run of the game and his 12th overall this season. Brantley then singled and would later come around to score thanks to a throwing error by Kevin McCarthy on a pickoff attempted that allowed him Dr. Smooth to motor all the way to third. Edwin hit a seeing eye single through the left side to bring home the insurance run.

Tyler Olson relieved Mike Clevinger and threw three pitches to Mike Moustakas before he lazily flied out. Cody Allen entered for the final frame and needed just 10 pitches to get three outs and the win for the Cleveland Indians.

Tribe tidbits

  • Jason Kipnis must know the official scorekeeper because the first “hit” of the game should have for sure been ruled an error. It wasn’t an easy play, necessarily, but it definitely seemed playable.
  • The running joke on LGT is that Whit Merrifield is a hobbit, and maybe today’s game will further that argument. In the first inning, a weak pop-up was hit to Merrifield who just let the ball drop on the infield. By doing so, Michael Brantley was forced to run to second since the batter, Encarnacion, was not out. This resulted in Brantley being easily thrown out at second and a slower Edwin replacing the runner at first. I get why he did it, and it’s technically not against the rules, but it’s still tricksy. Our own Matt Schlichting weighed in:
  • Francisco Lindor is getting stronger:
  • And he’s now in some pretty good company:

Despite yesterday’s charade, the Indians have a chance to take the series tomorrow in day baseball with Corey Kluber on the mound. No word on if Lindor and Brantley will be in the lineup since their backs may be sore from carrying the offense today.